In his book Simplify, Bill
Hybels provide great insight to conquering fears. He says we all have certain
fears that others might find funny or irrational; but they are real fears,
debilitating fears, fears that keep you imprisoned to Satan’s lies, and they
are anything but funny.
Constructive Fear – Anxiety while
driving an icy road; fear might keep your foot light on the pedal; fretting
over a huge presentation at work. A little fear may help you value an
opportunity. It motivates you to fasten your seat belt or pay taxes.
Destructive Fear – fear that is
baseless, useless, and crippling. Doesn’t protect us from reasonable dangers or
all us to ponder eternity with a serious mind. It nips away at our emotional
well-being, cluttering and complicating our lives by erecting false barriers in
our work, our relationships, and even our recreational pursuits.
Getting Freedom from Fear
fears origin. Dr. Wolpe, a 20th century S. African psychiatrists
studied origins of phobias.For example,
public speaking tops the list of the most common phobias. He discovered that
almost everyone who experiences high degrees of fear about speaking in front of
an audience can recall a time when they gave an oral book report in elementary
school, or a 3 minute talk in a 7th grade speech class – or a
similar time when all eyes in the room were focused their way – and somebody
laughed or the talk didn’t go well – or the teacher embarrassed them in some
way. From then on, the thought of speaking in public has caused fear and
trembling.When we peel back all the
layers of self-protection that cover up these destructive fears, we often find
one or two significant events at the core.
2.Expose Fear’s Lies –Fear begins with a thought that starts to
escalate. The technical term for manufacturing worse-case scenarios is catastrophizing. The evil one loves to
help you spin your worst-case scenarios, because they consume, distract, and
derail you. You belong to
your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was
a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth
in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the
father of lies. John 8:14 Fear thrives on deceit. Expose the lies
that fuel your fears.
3.Face Fear Head-On – Avoiding fears cause them to
escalate. The power of fear begins to diminish when a person takes the time to
understand its origins, expose its lies, and face it head on.
“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened
danger and try to run away from it.” Winston Churchill
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
To face your fears:talk to friends, replay your memories of the
past, journal, write, go to a counselor, get to the root. Then “do the thing
you think you cannot do.”
of Truth – Speak truthfully when fear starts grabbing the wheel of your mind.
Types of Truthful Words
You can tell yourself you are going to fail OR you can use truthful words. Say
all the truthful positive things you know about yourself and the situation.
Speak firmly to yourself. When you are overwhelmed by fear and begin to “go
there” with the fear, say out loud: “Stop it!” Stop manufacturing your worst
case scenario. Ask, “What strengths do I possess that will help me say no to
this fear?” What is the logical truth that most people believe about this fear?
(Ex:The elevator is safe; Most dogs are
2.Scripture -use the passages that give you comfort. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my
fears. Psalm 34:4
3.Prayer – Pray firm, bold prayers of expectation.
Not vague, benign prayers.
The Apostle Paul tells us that living a joyful life is God’s will for
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Even though it is God’s will, he still gives us the free will to choose
it or reject it. We have the free will to determine how we respond to every
situation we experience. Every opportunity we have is an opportunity to think
Dear brothers and
sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
Often we think of joy as a destination. We often ask, “How do I find
joy.” What if…joy is not a destination, but the path we choose each day?How does that switch your thinking?What if joy is not something you get? Here is
the truth: joy is not something that you get or find. Joy is something you
Situations that affect our joy can range from a personal slight to a
full on personal attack. They can include situations where others have tried to
rob us of joy or they can be situations where we sabotage our own joy. Perhaps
you’ve been short or snappy with someone. Perhaps you’ve gossiped or criticized
someone. Perhaps someone has done you an injustice. Perhaps someone disagree
with you. Perhaps someone you love makes bad choices. Each of these scenarios
affects our joy. I have experienced the
full range of joy robbing. These situations can try us, they can cause us to
stagger in our faith, they can cause us real physical ailments, they can cause
us to temporarily move into our cave of despair, but the essential question is,
will we allow these situations to rob us of our joy? When the joyless thought
enters your head, you get to decide how long it stays there. That length of
time will create either a joyless reaction or a joyful response. That length of
time will shape your hour, your day, and often your month and your life.
When the bad thought enters your mind, replace it by following these
Tell yourself this thought is a negative, bad, ungodly, or unkind thought 2.Re-frame –
Focus on a positive or distracting thought 3.Redirect - Change your actions to something
uplifting, fun, or engaging.
With each situation, we choose how to think, speak, and act. We can
choose to have a joyful response or a joyless reaction.
What I can tell you from my own personal experiences with situations
that can steal or joy is that…
the sooner I completely let God give me his strength and wisdom, ·the sooner I completely let God give me his strength and wisdom, ·the sooner I determine my responsibility in the situation, ·the sooner I make right any wrong I have caused, ·the sooner I am proactive instead of reactive, ·the sooner I take realize what I can control and what I can’t control, ·the sooner I get a handle on my emotions, my thoughts, and my actions, ·the sooner I ask myself “what is the truth of this situation?” and then deal with the truth, ·the sooner I seek wise counsel, ·the sooner I stop dwelling and ruminating, ·the sooner I make deliberate choices to switch my thinking, ·the sooner I act in loving, positive ways, ·the sooner I heed Jesus’ advice as found in Matthew 10:14, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet,” ·the sooner I decide to live forward and not backward, ·the sooner I examine how I can grow in this situation, ·the sooner I realize that people have a right to have different opinions, ideas, and choices and being different doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong,
…then the sooner I will dwell in joy.
To hear a one hour audio of my lesson on How to Live a Joy-Filled Life, click here.
Tommy Newberry, author of The 4:8
Principle and 40 Days to a Joy-filled
Life, says to master our emotional life, we must understand 3 simple maxims
that explain the mental dynamics of emotional health.
Law of Attention – Whatever
you dwell upon becomes increasingly prominent in our own mind. You will always feel what you dwell on. We
have emotional reactions to what we think. Newberry suggests we often act to
chronically share our mistakes, setbacks, and disappointments, and thus accelerate
our negative spiral downward. Do you broadcast your negative headlines to
everyone you meet? Or do you over share your personal crisis? If so, you may be
sabotaging your own joy by dwelling in the negativity of your life. What gets
your attention? Do you dwell and broadcast your blessings or curses?
Law of Exchange -
do away with a negative thought only when you replace it with a positive
thought. Have you ever tried to
block out a thought? Just telling ourselves not to think about something is not
effective. If you are upset by someone, you can’t just tell yourself not to be
upset and then it will go away. The solution is to shift your attention to
something else completely. Thoughts of unhappiness are exchanged for thoughts
of gratitude. We can replace thoughts that lead to emotional upheaval with
thoughts that lead to peace..
Reversibility – This is your God-installed capability to produce feelings as a result
of deliberate behavior. The method for upgrading your emotional life means
acting your way into having positive emotional feelings. Remember:we’re talking about “emotions,” not health issues, real mental issues. We
have been conditioned to believe the emotions should happen naturally. Some
believe that if you have to work at emotions, they are not genuine. You may
feel like a phony or as if you are lying to yourself when you act better than
you actually feel. This is what Newberry says about that – “If you rule out the
option of acting into your feelings, you will forever by doomed to enjoy only
those positive emotions that arise spontaneously.”
For example, have you ever really dreaded something like exercise or
going to lunch with a friend and then began it and found that you enjoyed it? You
make yourself do these things and then you find enjoyment. It’s the same principle.
What if you never did anything you didn’t “FEEL” like doing? Even the word emotion is 86% motion.
The author of Psalm 43, probably David, is going through a time of turmoil,
stress, and personal attacks.
me innocent, O God! Defend
me against these ungodly people. Rescue
me from these unjust liars. 2 For you are
God, my only safe haven. Why
have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed
by my enemies? 3 Send out your
light and your truth; let
them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to
the place where you live. 4 There I will go
to the altar of God, to
God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O
God, my God!
David’s life appears out of control and he feels abandoned by God. He
has a broken heart and is wandering around in grief. However, he recognizes God
as his safe haven and asks God to send his light and truth to guide him. His
desire is to worship God at the altar in the temple on Mount Zion. I imagine
David wants to take his inner turmoil, his stress, and his emotional upheavals to
the altar, for his source of joy is at the altar. David reminds us it is in
worshipping God that we experience real joy. Will you take and leave your
emotional upheavals at the altar? Or are you tempted to take them but not leave
them? God wants us to give him our emotional stress and leave them with him.
He wants to still our spirit and give us hope and peace at the altar. How much
will you leave with him? To hear the one hour audio of my lesson, click here. Controlling Your Emotional Life
how I love a party. My family loves to mark birthdays, holidays, and other
special occasions with big celebrations. The honoree selects the menu, and we always
have a theme and color scheme. We take plenty of pictures, laugh, and tell tall
tales on each other. I recently married and was blessed with a bridal shower
given by the Women of Worth Bible study that I lead. What a celebration! About
75 women gathered to show their love through gifts, food, and even a good
humored “roasting.” The day overflowed with love and laughter. At each of these
occasions my family and friends honored God and thanked him for his abundant
blessings. These celebrations are joy-filled occasions. It seems easy to be
joyful in celebrations, but how do we maintain joy and consistently live a
joy-filled life. Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful
always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s
will for you in Christ Jesus.” How can we be “joyful always?”
Psalm 100 in the psalm of
thanksgiving and tells us how to live a joy-filled life.
with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship
the Lord with gladness. Come
before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He
made us, and we are his. We
are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with
into his courts with praise. Give
thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His
unfailing love continues forever, and
his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100
note of the actions the psalmist tells us to take in order to have a thank-filled,
with joy to the Lord.
the Lord with gladness 3.Come
before him, singing with joy. 4.Acknowledge
that the Lord is God. 5.Enter
his gates with thanksgiving. 6.Go
to his courts with praise. 7.Give
thanks to him. 8.Praise his name.
All 8 actions pertain to honoring, thanking, and praising God.
When we celebrate God
with praise and thanksgiving, we experience the joy of the Lord. Joy and thankfulness go together. The Psalmist
tells us the reason to worship and praise God is because he is good. God is
only good; he cannot be anything but good. That is reason to celebrate. Knowing
that his love and faithfulness will always be with us is cause for celebration.
This psalm tells us a joy-filled life is overflowing with thankfulness. In
order to be filled with joy, we need to continually be thankful to God for his
goodness and blessings. If you are missing out on the joy-filled life, check your gratitude meter and make sure you're living a life focused on praise and thanksgiving.
In his book What on Earth Am I Here for?, Rick
Warren reminds us that we are called to belong, not just believe. He says our
relationship with Christ is personal but not private.
This kind of fellowship
is called koinonia. Koinonia is a
Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. Koinonia’s primary meaning is
“fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The first occurrence of koinonia is
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to
the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
We want to experience koinonia
in our relationship with others. The best way for Christians to experience koinonia is through belonging to a church.
Let’s look at the
importance of being a member of a church family as Warren tells us.
A church family
identifies you as a genuine believer.
It is a witness to the world
A church family moves you
out of self-centered isolation.
It is in the family of believers that we experience unity
and a connectedness. We
that we are not alone.
A church family helps you
develop spiritual muscle.
Being a part of a church family helps us to be in
relationship with other believers.
The New Testament uses
the phrases “one another” and “each other” over 50 times: pray for each other,
encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other,
teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s
burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other,
love each other. This is done through the church, the body of believers.
Real fellowship among
believers is experiencing life together.This kind of fellowship is not superficial. It is genuine,
heart-to-heart, gut-level sharing. This happens in group settings when people
develop trust.Groups best experience fellowship
– koinonia – when… the experience is mutual, there is sympathy, and there is
I am so blessed to lead
two women’s groups that experience koinonia:
the Women of Worth (WOW) group and the
Mom2Mom group. These groups love each other, have shared experiences,
sympathize and empathize with each other, and extend mercy and grace to each
other. In the world of reality TV it
seems expected that women will argue, call names, live in jealousy, and spew
venom, it is refreshing to have 175 girlfriends in these two groups who show
Christ’s love to each other and to others. This demonstration of love is real;
it is koinonia love and friendship.
Thanks be to God for these women!
To hear my 60 minute audio lesson on fellowship, click here:
What gives us pleasure?I find
pleasure in looking into my grandchildren’s sweet faces and seeing those big
blue happy eyes. I recently experience pleasure listening to an orchestra concert
and heard plenty of old tunes from the big band era.
God created us for his pleasure. Our first purpose in life it to bring
enjoyment to God. Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship.”Anything we do that brings pleasure to God is
an act of worship. Rick Warren tells us, “The most common mistake Christians make in
worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God.”
A. W. Tozer, once regarded as a prophet of the 20th
century, said, “True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with
God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.” So…how do we do a good job of pleasing
God and making him smile?
“He takes pleasure in those that honor
him; in those who trust in his constant love.” Psalm 147:11 (TEV)
We please God by what we do and not only
by what we believe.” James 2:24
A.We please God
when we give him our whole being – our heart and soul and mind and strength.
“Love the Lord you God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
We please him when we obey wholeheartedly…when we love him supremely….
When we trust him completely…when we praise and thank him…when we use our
abilities…when we enjoy his creation…when we use kind words…when we tell the
truth…when we encourage others.
Question: “How much pleasure is
God getting out of my life?”
B.The heart of
worship is when we surrender all of ourselves to him.
A.W. Tozer said, “The reason why many are still troubled, still
seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come
to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering
with God’s work within us.”
We can’t fully surrender until we come to the end of ourselves. We
fully surrender when we rely on God to work things out instead of trying to
manipulate others, control situations, and force our plan. Letting go and
letting God have ALL is our challenge.
Surrender yourselves to the Lord, and
wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7a
Question: "How much have I surrendered to God?"
It’s comforting to know that we are asked to surrender to someone who
wants to be our best friend.
C.We please God
when we make him our best friend.
We make Jesus our best friend by getting to know him. We read of him
and we talk with him. We carry on a constant dialogue with him. What are the
characteristics of a best friend relationship? We trust our best friend. We
share secrets with them. We are honest with them. We often indulge them. We
talk kindly to them and they talk kindly to us. We say good things about them. We
praise them. We introduce them to others.
That only happens when we spend
time with them. Jesus wants to be that kind of friend. How can we worship him
in our friendship? All that we say, think, feel and do throughout the day will
be an act of worship toward our best friend.
Question: "What kind of friend am I to God?"
Real personal worship characteristics
A.Comes from a
desire to give God our heart and soul and mind and strength
B.Comes from full
surrender to God
building a relationship with God.
To hear an audio of my lesson, Real Worship, click below:
If your life were a
metaphor, what would it be? Forest Gump’s mama taught him, “Life is a box of
chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” How do you describe life?
Is it a game? A dream? A cabaret? A dance? A battle? A mystery? How we view
life speaks volumes about how we shape our decision and what we think, feel,
say, and do? In his book What on Earth Am I Here For? Rick Warren
tells us the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life:
Life is a test, life is a
trust, and life is a temporary assignment.
Life on earth is a Test.
All of life is a
test.We are always being tested.
Everything is important because everything we think, say, and do reveals our
character.Our responses to people and
our experiences reveal who we are.When
we experience problems, conflict, success, sickness, we have opportunities to
reveal character, andwe either show
that we are walking closer to Christ or moving away. Perhaps the most important
test comes when we don’t feel close to God – like those days when we’re in our
cave of sadness or anger or depression.Everything
is significant.Every moment of life is
a growth opportunity.Can we consider
our obstacles as opportunities? It’s good to remember that god wants us to “pass”
the tests of life, and He promises to give us the strength to endure them.
Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to
people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested
beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will
give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. I
Corinthians 10:13 (GNT)
Life on Earth Is a Trust
God has entrusted us with
gifts and resources.He has given us all
things to use wisely. Remember, he has given each of us our garden to tend. God gave Adam and Eve the original garden. I’m
sure he showed them the beautiful rivers, and streams and trees and flowers. He
pointed to the sun and said, “I give you warmth of the sun during the day.” And
then he said, “I give the cool of the evenings.” “I give you each other to love
and care for. And go out and populate the earth and then care for the children
and all mankind. But… see that tree over there? That’s the one thing you cannot
have. That is for me.You may not have
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.But enjoy everything else.I set
that boundary for your good and my glory.” And what did Adam and Eve do? They crossed the
boundary. God wanted them to take care of all the “stuff” of the earth and
leave the one thing for him but they messed up his “trust system.”
Do we care properly for
what gives us? Do we properly use our skills, and talents, and personality, and
gifts, and finances and bodies and time and relationships? He’s entrusted us
with them. Life is a trust. We are managers of all that God trusts us with.
Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. I
Life on Earth Is a Temporary Assignment Our life is short, we know nothing at all;
we pass like shadows across the earth. Job 8:9
compared with eternity, life is brief. I know that some days seem like an
eternity, don’t they!! Are you
familiar with the old gospel hymn, “This World Is Not My Home”?
world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
We really are just
visiting earth. We’re temporary residents on earth. We’re citizens of heaven.
The Bible warns us not to get too attached to what’s around us because it is
Those in frequent contact with the exciting
things the world offers should make good use of their opportunities without
stopping to enjoy them; for the world in its present form will soon be gone. I
Corinthians 7:31 (TLB)
C.S. Lewis said, “All
that is not eternal is eternally useless.” How does our living today
change when we begin to consider our permanent residence more important than
our earthly one?
When we daily focus on
life as test, a trust, and our temporary residence, we begin to bring more
glory to God and greater blessings for us.
To hear the related lesson I taught from What on Earth Am I Here For? click here.